If you wanna kno something interesting about yourself, send me a sample of your handwriting (a page at least) and allow me to tell you what I see-as in, pieces of your personality maybe.

27 May 2010


Observing the future based on horoscope signs, having my palm read, gazing at the stars and seeing the future, boiling tea leaves and finding out what destiny has in store according to the pattern formed and any other form of superstitious beliefs do not shake me (except when Christian religious say that ‘God has a plan for me’ – that gives me the quivers!) I used to scoff on it so much that I wrote an entire article on horoscopes and how I thought it was fake during college days and had to continuously argue about it with the editor of the magazine who said that there just might be a possibility that it is true after all.

I never changed my mind about that. Doubting your own belief system can make your very foundations shake. That reminds me of a scene in F.R.I.E.N.D.S in which Phoebe says that she doesn’t believe in evolution and Ross persistently tries to persuade her. Phoebe is irritated by his persistence and here is how she deals with it:

ROSS: Ok, Phoebe, this is it. In this briefcase I carry actual scientific facts. A briefcase of facts, if you will. Some of these fossils are over 200 million years old.

PHOEBE: Ok, look, before you even start, I'm not denying evolution, ok, I'm just saying that it's one of the possibilities.

ROSS: It's the only possibility, Phoebe.

PHOEBE: Ok, Ross, could you just open your mind like this much, ok? Wasn't there a time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And, up until like what, 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing, until you split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you are so unbelievably arrogant that you can't admit that there's a teeny tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this?

ROSS: There might be, a teeny, tiny, possibility.

PHOEBE: I can't believe you caved.

ROSS: What?

PHOEBE: You just abandoned your whole belief system. I mean, before, I didn't agree with you, but at least I respected you. How, how, how are you going to go into work tomorrow? How, how are you going to face the other science guys? How, how are you going to face yourself? Oh!

Well, this post is not written to discuss any of the beliefs I just mentioned in the first paragraph. It’s about handwriting analysis or what one might technically call graphology. Some people may be skeptical about it but skepticism is good provided you have a broad mind too. At first it was instinct which made me believe in graphology. It seemed like pure common sense to me because it’s quite obvious that we all have our own unique handwritings and there is always a slight change in them according to the mood we sport at the moment. So it’s a huge possibility that one can be judged by their handwritings. Moreover, when we grow our handwritings look more mature and ‘experienced’ of some sort. I was first introduced to graphology by a very charming senior in college. She had initially started reading it from books and then completed her quest by going for graphology classes. We asked her, just for the fun of it what she could see from our handwritings and it all turned out to be freakingly quite close to the truth. There were certain things we had in us and we never realized it until she told us that. I clearly remember one comment she made. She exclaimed, “WHAT are you hiding form the rest of us Reni?” I was obviously a little confused and surprised because I’ve always considered myself as a frank and open person and so did everyone else. I just replied, “Wah?” and stopped there while my mind started to rewind and look back. It was quite true that I didn’t go around blabbering exactly what I felt or thought since I thought that either it wasn’t important or they’d get bored or it’s not safe enough to. All that did make me a secretive person and that revelation made me sigh.

At an international level I’d declare Bart Bagget one of the best graphologist walking this earth. Not only is he good at deciphering and interpreting from a small sample of a person’s handwriting, but he can relate with almost anyone he meets. While he takes classes he explains everything in a simple way connecting psychology with the art of graphology. Moreover, it’s impossible to forget what he says because he’s got a very admirable sense of humour and can say very ordinary things in a very interesting way somehow. Ok, I guess that’ll be enough drooling over Mr.Baggett!

11 May 2010




I saw this on TV while I was having breakfast today morning and I thought the recipe is worth a try. It's suppossed to be a Gujurati preparation of mutton. I started salivating (although I had food in front of me) when the host mentioned mutton.

Step 1: Boil the mutton and allow it to cook.

Step 2: Prepare the paste from the following items:
Garam masala: grind the wholesome ingredients on the stone grinder so that the pieces show.
Add a cup and a half of curd
One teaspoon of chilli powder
Eeeeh, there was something else too!

Step 3: Add in another "red powder" which adds a little flavour and a lot of colour.

Step 4: Mix everything together. And oh! after straining the mutton or something like that. But then the broth was added on later on. What's after that?

AAAaaah!!! I don't REMEMBER anything now!!! Phew!

Sheesh! I got it all mixed up! Maybe if you follow the following link you'll get an alternative recipe I'm planning to try out myself:

10 May 2010


I was always crazy about mangoes. I don't remember the very first time I had this delicious fruit but I believe that if I knew about mangoes right after I came out of my mother's womb I would've whined for mango milk shake. One of those wonderful experiences I remember of my childhood years are those in which my Mum would peel and cut delicious, big, yellow mangoes while the three of us would sit around her with our mouths watering. It was understood among us that the one peeling gets to lick the skin of the mango, the rest of us gets an equal share of the pieces (not more or less) and the one who does the major sacrifice of having a slightly lesser share gets the seed to lick. It was always my Sis who'd do that since I was always too greedy for my rightful share and my Bro was always too lazy to lick.
As we grew up we were ready to take up our share of responsibilities and it was Sis who'd do the peeling and cutting when Mum was busy (since she's a girl and I was not really good with the knife). Being the "peeler" she had the right to lick the skin and I'd say, "hey, you are not being careful! There's a lot of pulp on that skin your peeling. Be more CAREFUL!!!"

08 May 2010


I remember a time when I was too little to know the meaning of being jealous. It used to be an uneasy feeling at the gut level that made it difficult for me to sleep without having dreams and difficult for me to understand. When you grow up it's easier to understand what's going on and you have control over it. A piece of advice: don't practice too much or you'll end up being just like me - I don't seem to feel a twinge of jealousy any more. I clearly remember a conversation I had with my best friend in high school (with whom I had to break up twice, no thrice, only to become the best of friends later on).

We are sitting in the canteen area and munching on the meager amount of chips left in the Lays packet. While we savor each bite we amuse ourselves with our passive observations of the senior boys who claim to have basket ball practice, flirting with the gang of girls in front of the canteen. Skirts seem shorter, shirts are no longer tucked in, ties and belts are loosened and other subtle differences can be noted if you know where to look out for it.

Best Friend: Hump! Just coz she's got it all she does not have to give a display of her "attitude"!

Me: That's a lot of pressure she's under. I mean, look at us! We don't have to stand there trying to impress those jerks and end up looking like jerks ourselves. Trust me, we are better off sitting here, talking to each other and completely at ease with ourselves.

Best Friend No.2 walks in the picture. She was the one among us trio who was street smart and acts tough and may be a little 'unconventional'.

Best Friend No. 2: Oh, well! I wouldn't mind being pretty and the Head Girl and under that kind of pressure.

BF1: Cut it out! We've got exams coming up and I want to get a 80% this time for the terminal exams! Want to beat the topper of the class if possible, too.

BF2: Ooooh, yes, yes! I want to prove the fact that I'm the best among my siblings.

Me: Pshak!!! You're siblings are several years younger than you. What's the point dudette! And just because you get the 1st rank once, doesn't mean you're the best in everything. I mean, most of those nerds out there don't seem to have that little thing we call common sense or genuine friends around them.

BF1: Reni, the grapes are sore, are they not? (BF2 giggles). You won't get anywhere if your not competitive, you bitch! (Being called "bitch" means BF1 is very fond of you).

I grin at them and I sit back because I feel all is good the way it is although my young teen spirit yearns for more freedom.


My previous posts may lead you to the wrong concept that one can be a cook overnight but boy, you couldn’t be more wrong! There were a few instances in which I made non-edible food items and had to make a few compromises. If you are a good learner, you’ll have to know how to improvise with what is around and make do with it.

One day after I came back from church, I declared that I’d make payasam. We bought Vermicelli and I was all set. After all, how tough is it to boil some milk and add a little cooked Vermicelli, cashewnuts and dried raisins in it? This is how I went about doing it – Heat a little (1 teaspoon) ghee in a non-sticky frying pan and cooked the Vermicelli until it is soft and a little translucent. Boil a packet (500ml) of milk and add 4 tablespoons of sugar in it. Heat and cook the cashew nuts and dried raisins in another pan. Mix the milk, Vermicelli and nuts and raisins and allow it to cook for some time while stirring it continuously. Add a little condensed milk and a spoon of butter for extra taste.

The result? The payasam was too sticky because I didn’t add enough extra water and it tasted like nothing in particular because I didn’t add enough sugar, nuts and raisins and I completely forgot to add the cardamon too (an essential ingredient). I guess I was too tired with all that walking and got it all wrong.

The solution - (The next day) Since neither I nor anyone else were interested in consuming the payasam, I was the object of my Mum’s wrath. Determined not to lose this battle, I improvised. I heated another packet of milk (500ml), roasted more cashew nuts and raisins in a little oil and added 6 tablespoons of sugar as well as three crushed cardamon pieces and finally added the previous day’s failure to the new mixture. It turned out ok although it wasn’t irresistibly delicious and I was ok with that. After all, it was my first try.

I made the noodles the same way I had made the pasta except for the fact that I made tomato juice with a tomato and poured it in after having added the powders and also added a spoon of pepper (I hate the taste of pepper but it can be interesting sometimes and even tasty when not added too much). Another one difference is that I added too much chilli powder. And oh, I almost forgot, instead of adding scraps of beef, I added in slices of boiled egg because I was making egg noodles.

The result? The noodles was tasty alright but extra spicy and when bro (I guess, he’s a kind of guinea pig in all my cooking experiments) became hungry he had it with lots of cold sweet curd.

The solution - The next day I made some more noodles (sausage noodles) and mixed it with the remains of the previous batch and it solved the problem.

Note: Another little difference regarding preparation of noodles is the part in which we prepare the raw noodles. It’s a little more complicated. Once you’re done boiling the noodles in water for a min or 2, you have to rinse it with cool water, drain it and then shallow fry it in a little oil. You wash it with cool water to prevent the noodles from cooking by itself with the remaining heat. That’s a scientific fact my Sis told me. She every time has logical explanations even if it’s about cooking.

The pasta ingredients are my Sis’. It’s easy if you follow it step by step and if someone tells it to you in a matter-of-fact way. It was on a Sunday (noon time) when I was stretching and yawning in bed, lazy to get up when Sis called me to catch up with the recent happenings in my life and one conversation led to another and ended in the preparation of pasta. The only reason we kept down the phone after that was because my head was going to explode due to information overload. So here goes:
Step 1: Preparation of the pasta and potato – Boil water and turn off the stove, after which you put in the raw pasta and allow it to cook for around 10 mins. Drain the pasta. Peel, cut (in pieces) and boil the potato. Keep both the potato and pasta aside.
Step 2: Cut onion and capsicum in square pieces and fry it in a spoonful of oil till it becomes translucent. Cook tomatoes in a spoonful of oil (in a separate pan) till it becomes pasty and starts shimmering. Add the onion, capsicum and tomato in the larger pan, a spoon of ginger garlic paste (made from a piece of ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic) and add the four essential powders -2 tspns chilli powder, a pinch of turmeric powder, 3 tspns coriander powder and garam masala. Add enough soya sauce to the mix and allow to cook (“Oh, you HAVE to buy soya sauce if you don’t have any. That’s what makes the pasta Mmmmmm!”).
Step 3: Add salt, the pasta and potato into the mix and add chunks of cheese while the pan is still over the stove.

The result? The pasta didn’t taste like anything in particular and I had an instinctive feeling that once it cooled down it wouldn’t taste so good.

The solution - I let the siren go and Mum came to my rescue. “It doesn’t taste like anything Mum!” and like the skilled soldier in the battlefield she ordered, “Add some more soya sauce!”. I still thought it didn’t taste as good as I expected it to turn out and so I added shreds of the previous day’s beef.

I saw it being made and I thought to myself, “Boy, is that the easiest thing to do or what?!!!”
Step 1: Spread a lot of tomato ketchup on the pizza base, spread the cut vegetables (or pieces of sausage or meat), scrap out some cheese and spread it on the top. There are certain powders (pizza mix) sold in the market which can make it more delicious.
Step 2: Spread a little oil/ghee on the frying pan and put the dressed pizza base on it. Keep the fire burning low and cover it with a vessel (aluminium or steel) and wait for it to cook.

The result? When I made it, the base got burnt and I placed the pan in a vessel filled with cold water to cool it down. The pizza still tasted burnt though.

The solution – I ate the pizza anyways and made up my mind to bake it in an oven the next time.

06 May 2010


I scratched my head and wondered what I should make today. According to me, anything enjoyably eatable is worth making. My Mum of course does not agree with me (which is not unusual). She believes anything "healthy" but not necessarily tasty is worth eating. I asked Mum before she left how I'd make chaat and she ranted away the instructions. It's easy, really. If I can do it, anyone can. The only tricky and time consuming part is the cooking of the chana and the green peas.

Step 1 - Preparing the green peas and chana masala - Both have to be soaked in water for a night and cooked in a pressure cooker. There's this one difference though - for chana, after the first whistle you have to continue cooking it over a low flame for another 20mins, while for the green peas you've got to wait for the 2nd whistle before you decide to turn off the flame. That's the only tricky part.

Step 2 - Next, prepare the masala for the chana and green peas. Cook sliced onions and garlic in a little oil, add the four main powders - red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and garam masala.Then add the chana and green peas and pour in a little boiled water and allow it to cook for awhile.

Step 3 - While that is being cooked over the stove, cut a few tomatoes, onion and coriander leaves. Squeeze some lemon over the veggy mix and add salt to taste. Take some yummy curd and add lots of sugar to make it more yummy.

Step 4 - Now all you have to do is set the dish. Take out the dish in which you mean to serve the chaat and put in the cooked green peas and chana. Sprinkle a little aloo bhujia and tiny poori pieces over it and the mixed vegetables over it. Around the entire prepared chaat pour the sweetened curd. You could add a little sweetened tamarind juice too.

02 May 2010

Mum's secret beef curry recipe

I stretch my back as I stand up after saying the family prayer. Mum sighs (and I suppose she's praying that we all convert)and complains about her sore ankles and Big bro stretches his legs only to sit back and put them on the table in front of the sofa. I yawn as I know exactly what I have to do next - heat the food and set the table for dinner. That's when Mum asks the most fateful question which means more work: "Do you want beef curry for dinner?"

Me: Naaaaaa!!!
Big bro: I wouldn't mind!
Me: (Groan!)

I settle down to peel and cut the onion and ginger as Mum rants away the instructions, "A little turmeric powder, two spoons green - coloured powder and a little chilli powder and a little of those garam masala you unnecessarily bought the other day. Add a few pieces of tomato to make it more tasty". I nod and say "huh!" at all the right intervals. When she starts putting the powders aside in a small plate I wish to say, "MUM, I'm not a RETARD!!!" but instead I simply say, "Harump!!! If Mum's doin that, Mum might as well make it Mumself!"
Amazingly, the curry came out fine. Not an amazing thing considering the fact that I didn't do any different than instructed by the chef of my life - Super Mum!
And here's how I made it:
Step 1: Heat a little oil and fry the onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli and later on a few curry leaves.
Step 2: a little turmeric powder, two spoons green powder, a spoon red chilli powder and garam masala.
Step 3: Add the cooked beef.
Step 4: Add a few big cut pieces of tomato (not necessary, but it does reduce the curry's spiciness). If necessary, add a little boiled water. Add salt to taste and voila, your curry is ready!

P.S.: You could prepare chicken the same way too. It tastes yummy!

24 April 2010


I'm experimenting in the kitchen these days and guess what I tried making a few weeks back when my adorable little cousins were staying at my place...ICE CREAM!!!I purchased a packet of Baker's ice cream powder and started making it. I looked at the instructions written behind it and thought to myself, "Piece of cake. Ha!" The instructions went like this,
"Take 200ml of chilled milk in a deep vessel and contents of the pack (100gms). Whip for 10-15 mins for 6-8 mins with an interval of one min after every three minutes to get upto 2-3 times the volume of the soft cream."
I was slightly confused about the timings though. I had to re-read it several times over to make sure. Apart from that it was the most easiest thing to make. The flavour was pista and voila, I had it chilled for 3 hours and ready to serve along with the fruit salad I had made. My darling Sis was surprised that I made delicious ice cream so easily and everything seemed so easy to do until she asked me a question - "Hmmm, Ponzi, how much did the ice cream powder cost you?" to which I answered, "hhmmm, don't think it was much, hmmmm, dunno really". For your kind information Mr.Reader, it costed Rs33!! If you are a miser, you'd also remember that I had to pay for the milk too!!! And if you are a truly stingy miser, you'd also calculate the number of cup ice creams you could've bought with the same amount of money.
The next time I went to the super market to do some shopping, I bought Kwality's ice cream powder only because it had the "Buy one get one free" offer. The instructions on it were a little more complicated. It went like this,
"Dissolve the contents of the packet in half litre of milk and heat the mixture till it boils stirring continously, till it boils.
Remove and cool. Stir frequently while cooling.Transfer it into an aluminium container and freeze for two hours.
Then remove and beat for 2-3 mins until smooth. Pour into tray and freeze."

I mumbled and grumbled while making the ice cream because it seemed forever while I continuously stirred the mix over and over again. The apple pudding for which the ice cream was supposed to be the topping was easier to make. The apple pudding was yum yummy and I didn't have the patience to wait for the ice cream to freeze and so I served the pudding anyways.

09 April 2010


There must have been instances when you must’ve thought to yourself, “What on earth am I doing here?” and you wonder what the future has in store for you. For me, it happens so often that I feel it’s like a déjà vu experience…People have told me that everything happens for a purpose…whether it’s the car accident, giving birth to twins, falling in love, breaking up with a friend, saying the wrong things to the one you love, randomly helping a stranger, noticing something nobody else have not even cared to notice, being influenced by the supposedly “wrong” source…I could go on…

Some people seem to get what they want and we’d call them lucky. But I’ve noticed that they don’t often get it the way they planned to. Who am I to say all this? Well, I haven’t made it big in life yet, BUT I will, in my own way. For the time being, I’m content with dealing with the delicacies of life and getting the most of what I have at the moment. However, people who have already made it big in life might have a lot to say. Fate plays an important role in our lives but how we deal with it decides whether we attain our goals or not…eventually!

However, what is important is being ready in difficult situations to PROVE yourself. For this reason, you’ll have to put on the fighting gear you’ll need to travel in the adventurous road called life. Imagine you are enjoying a walk in the woods and you are face-to-face with a bear. You’d obviously feel more comfortable if you could confront the creature with something other than merely your bare hands. In the same way, there are various skills that may not seem very important, but are necessary for you to deal with situations in your life – especially in a moment of crisis. I could name a few like, controlling your emotions, dealing with stress in a productive way, presenting yourself in a genuine but impressive manner, appreciating others for their work, and the list goes on. These are skills that can help you deal with circumstances effectively and further help you to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles you come across – almost like the right amount of salt and spices in your dishes. Big problems will seem easy to handle and people will get to know you as a very easy, go-lucky individual who can handle almost any situation. This is important in your career as well as in your private lives. Of course, it’s impossible for us to do it all in one day, but that’s the exciting part - you learn, experiment, conclude and then make it a part of you once you think it’s going to make you a better you!


6th April 2010
When my parents were planning to leave for Kerala I thought I'd have all the time in the world to do what I wanted to and sit down to write a bit. Everything turned upside down when we decided that my two little cousins would be staying over. Well, frankly, I bought it on myself. When the girl looked at me wide eyed saying that vacations have just started and asked whether she could stay at our place while they are away, I said, "Yeah! Of course!" It's been only 2 and a half days and I'm struggling to keep up. Kids are fun but not when you have to do the cooking, cleaning and worst of all scold them when they are up to mischief. When breakfast is over it's already time for lunch and when that is over it's time for tea and it's night in the blink of an eye....

11th April 2010
They've (my cousins) left our place just when I was getting used to them. Today was a real good day. Exhausted with all that cleaning I stretch my back. I couldn't admire enough what my Mum have done all these years. Being the fighter gal I am, I'm not going to give up of course. It's all a matter of time and getting used to the cooking (which have always proved to be a major challenge for me) and it's going to be easy once I get used to it and that's that! Two more days left I wonder how to make the best use of it. Anyways, going out and having dinner in a cute tamil restaurant was refreshing. What added more fun to the entire "outing" plan was cracking jokes and teasing each other (we were sarcastic most of the time but hey, that's what's makes it cool). At the end of the day I'm peacefully sitting with my laptop and eeeehhh...thinking.

17 March 2010

Which mask should I wear today?

I'm not a student anymore, nor have I joined a profession of a determined sort. I admit I've been quite useless but at the same time considered quite indispensable and having some kind of potential deep within by maybe another bunch of mostly strangers. I wake up each day wondering what exactly should I do to make myself content instead of making others happy for a change. The thought makes me blink and I wonder what made me feel so selfish and when will I start making my own decisions and working on them. I frown at myself while I look at myself brushing my teeth through the mirror and curse the extra pimples on my cheek and forehead - a fact that never used to bother me in the past. While I wander in the kitchen looking for my glass of tea and my share of breakfast I curse the fact that I wasn't born a boy. Breakfast would've been served and I would have the chance to actually go out there and look for a job instead of waiting for one to come my way. I sulk and grumble as I prepare myself something and I wonder, "What now?" I do the chopping and peeling and cleaning while my head throbs dully. I think to myself, "This is certainly not IT and I feel totally STUCK!" The day passes by and my mood improves but I lack the enthusiasm to actually do anything because I feel that everything I do is not important anymore and I'm abnormally quiet since I don't have anything to contribute in a conversation. I sigh to myself and finally admit to myself that something is wrong.

02 February 2010


What with a million things to talk about and a million sources through which information can be sought and cross checked it’s very easy nowadays to sit down and do a little of ‘article writing’ during leisure time. For people like me going through circumstances I’m going through at the moment, it’s even more easier…well, if I can face the consequences of neglecting my mum’s bickering and her constant flow of worries. Hmmmm, I must admit that she has a good number of reasons to worry about but I can’t really figure out how these problems can be solved by constantly bickering at me. Well, I’m trying to react to it in different ways to find out what actually will work. I’m experimenting in a way to figure out what can actually stop people like mum from nagging. Maybe I can write a whole new book for youngsters out there on how to deal with problematic nagging mums. While I do research on that let’s go through something else…something revealing and insightful. You should be ready for this because today you are going to find out that THERE IS A WRITER IN EVERY ONE OF US! Believe it or not, but it would be very interesting if all of us maintained a diary and wrote down what we feel and think. It’s interesting to know how some things can seem rational and common sense to some but irrational and nonsensical to others. For instance, you must have come across people saying, “Awww, man you are weird!, “I don’t understand you!”, “What makes you think so?” “From where do you get such cool ideas?”, “Did I miss something?”, etc. I’ve heard my share of the mentioned statements and I’ve often impatiently pushed it back thinking that I could answer those questions later. I sometimes light heartedly say that I’m different because I predominantly use the right cerebral hemisphere (I’m a left handed weirdo) unlike the majority who predominantly use the left hemisphere and are right handed. That’s of course a very unscientific way of explaining things but there are times when one’s patience run out and we answer silly regardless of who exactly we are talking to . The truth is we are ALL different and we can’t help it. That’s the reason why the way we all think is interesting to each other and we should pen it down often.

A friend of mine was very attached to her “phaw phow” (which she very fondly calls her belly button). I was curious about what made her feel so nice meddling with it while sleeping, talking over the phone or even while reading a book. When I irritatedly mentioned to her once that I thought she could do without it she retorted back saying, “How would you feel if you were deprived of your pillow while you were sleeping?”. I was exasperated but I knew that if it turned out to be a problem later on, she’d have to learn it the hard way

In the past few years I’ve made a casual observation of the people around me and how they think and how their kind of thinking makes them work or rather move on with life. It would be an interesting read if people who you come across everyday writes down what they think and why. It’s what psychologists would call the method of introspection – a method in which you observe what goes on inside you and record it in words. Of course there will be numerous instances when we are not honest to even ourselves and we rationalize everything we do, but that’s a mistake we’ll have to bear with because we are all understandably human. It’s not technically a scientific method – something which even practicing psychoanalysts agree to. Not convinced? Ok. How would you test/examine whether the colleague next to you showed you his answer paper during a very important exam because he wanted to genuinely help you out or merely because he wanted to feel belonged or accepted? Confusing, huh? This is where getting to know the personality of a person helps – helps to know how he thinks. Since everyone has a unique personality shaped by genes and the environment all can write something interesting for the benefit of the rest of us. Go ahead and give it a try buddy!

13 January 2010


The new found trends these days are making life in general very confusing and difficult to cope with. I’m not talking about the dressing style developed by the youngsters or the increasing amount of information we get from different sources or even the hi-tech gadgets made every day. Most are aware of the cultural differences that exist while communicating; the body language involved, the words used and even the way we say certain lines as well as the facial expressions that accompany it. However, you’d be surprised to know that differences more detrimental and more “different” exists within the family itself. And as the saying goes, “Charity begins at home”, it would be better if we tried to relate to our family members first.
A very familiar scenario may go like this:
Mum: How was school today?
Teenage Son: Hmmmmm….
Mum: Well?
Teenage Son: Gooorf! Phoookay! (Munching on a sandwich)
Mum: That doesn’t say much!
And the exasperated mother looks on while the sons walks to his room and slams the door. Clearly, slamming the door means sending out the message, “Keep away! I need my space!”
Let’s not be too patronizing on the teenager involved in the above example and say he reacted the wrong way or even on the mother and say that she wasn’t warm or clever enough to actually get a frank and open answer from her own son. At the same time, it’s easy for us as observers to sit back and say it’s the generation gap problem and it will resolve when time passes by. The good news is, most often than not, it does resolve over time and teens grow into mature adults once they feel they’ve got responsibilities they have to carry out on their shoulders. But the bad news is that, there have been many cases in which irreparable damage occurs and difficulties too hard to cope with arise as a result of this “lack of communication”. Moreover, sometimes people are not able to resolve these conflicts and as a result develop some serious problems in life.
Communication is a tricky business and the way we interact with different people is tailor-made according to the person’s temperament and how we are related to the person as well as on how the other person treats us. Clearly, there is no basic rule by which we should act or any basic principle we should follow to interact with the people around us. However, there surely is a basic attitude we could develop to make it less conflicting in nature. The attitude can be summarized in the phrase, “Gently but Firmly”. “Gently” meaning, the prime concern of every individual is to get the message through such that the other person is able to understand what is being said and how the other person feels about something, rather than trying to force an idea on the other person and prove that he is right. Persuasiveness is a good quality but it does no good to the receiver or the speaker to squabble over something that is of no particular significance. For example, a vegetarian may go on endlessly about how cruel non-vegetarians are for killing animals and eating their meat like cannibals whereas, non-vegetarians could retort back by saying that they would do the same if they knew the taste of meat. And besides, plants are living things too so why isn’t it considered cruel to kill and eat them too?
What about cases in which we need to convince the other about an idea? This is where we need to be convincing rather than forceful. This is one method used by participants in debates. Good debaters are alert and know both the pros and cons of their case. They present their arguments in the form of clear-cut facts and give a sincere and genuine expression of their points. They do it in such a way that people would think that they believe in it and they are justified to do so. This reminds me of a debate I was involved in a few years back. We were discussing the poem, “The Last Duchess” and there were two teams – one who fought for the idea that the Duke was wrong in murdering his own wife, the Duchess, merely because he didn’t appreciate the fact that the young lady had a way of charming everyone around her and the other team sided the Duke. Nobody wanted to be on the Duke’s side of course, because it was quite obvious that his evil act could not be justified. One girl in particular stood up and spoke for the Duke in such a manner that one would be convinced that the Duchess was naïve and utterly stupid in her dealings and that she should’ve seen it coming. She said it in a matter-of-fact way and very simply spoke out what the Duke must’ve been feeling. At the end of her say, it was obvious that even girls with the feminist attitude were nodding their heads. Frankly, I was scandalized but impressed!
By the term “Firmly” I mean the ability to stand for what you believe in and not waver but at the same time to develop a broad and flexible mindset that will help you to objectively listen and reason out what others say to you. Understandably, none of us know everything that is happening around us and people can educate you in several different ways. Incidents can teach you hard core lessons and it would be stupid if you do not learn from your mistakes. However, it would also be absurd if one had a fickle mind and is unable to think independently. We are all experimenters in one way or the other. Some are good while others are bad. Those we classify as “good” are those who have clearly experimented on the different possibilities, including the possibility of our concepts or our beliefs being wrong. Strange as it may seem, the modern world demands the need to question and test everything we see, hear and touch…even question the very core of our existence and beliefs at times. (These are areas philosophers seem to get lost and go “insane”.)
Now that we are familiar with the kind of attitude we ought to develop, let’s see how we can apply it in a practical sense. The following tips (which anyone can most probably google search) will help you a long way:
1) Develop the skill of listening:
2) Talk in a way that is not threatening to the person you are talking to or maybe even arguing with.
3) Maintain your composure no matter what because a hot-headed person may seem immature or emotionally unstable. Confidence is an important (and difficult) trait to develop, especially when you are doing the talking and all eyes are on you. Even if you are not sure of what you are expressing, patiently explain where exactly you are confused or need clarification.
Consider the above three points as the key factors that need to be attended to. But it’s not as easy as it seems. For some, it might come out naturally, but for others it might have to be developed and worked on further. But always remember that, “Slow and steady wins the race”.


A lot of people find it difficult to control their temper. Even those charming ones who seem to wear that amiable mask all the time, you’d think they could NEVER become angry – ever! In such cases it’s not uncommon to hear them say, “You wouldn’t want to make ME angry!” or somebody else say about them, “You’ve never seen him angry? Aaaahh, you wouldn’t want to know!” A common belief among both the young and the elderly these days is the concept that getting angry or ordering people around like Hitler-Reborn helps you get things done your way and that nobody can stop you even if they wanted to. I salute all those who believe in the fast road to developing a cardiac arrest!

Now let’s think like mature adults and reason it out for a few minutes, shall we? Apart from the very detrimental effects of a bad-temper to health, let’s see the after affects of an anger outburst. Picturise yourself in a scene in which you are provoked and you feel your blood boiling. Thoughts like, “I’m going to show him what I am made of!”, “Who does he think he is?”, “I’ll teach him a lesson he’ll never forget”, or maybe merely a list of censored words. You tell yourself not to lose ‘it’…you think to yourself, “what the heck?”, and the next thing you know is that there is a volcanic eruption and hot boiling lava is flowing from your very mouth! The after effects? Well, the recipient is extremely upset. The consequences of course, depend on what kind of person the other person is. If he is as hot-tempered as you are, then he might follow the principle, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”; if he is the inhibited type, he’ll whine and feel real bad about it; if he is the assertive type, he’ll make you look like a fool – you can bet on that! And beware, this might be only the overtly obvious consequence, but that one outburst can start a series of misunderstandings, frustrations, relationship problems and other complexities of human interactions. Neither of these are good outcomes, admit it. On the other hand, there are more pros than cons when you consider the option of remaining calm, cool and not losing your composure.

Another concept that is widely believed (basically because of the common male stereotype developed by the current society) is that you cannot be considered a “man” if you do not react to the situation - the more aggressive you are, the more manly you are considered to be. In fact, what most do not realize is the resultant uncomfortable feeling people around experience whether they are the unlucky victim or a casual observer. Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t have to necessarily be that way. George Clooney is one of those actors in Hollywood who never seem to grow old or maybe he’s got the charm of aging with grace. I’ve never come across any girl who’ve watched one of his films and said, “Ugh! That guy lacks something!” Nor is it obvious in the news about anyone hating him or obviously disliking him. Of course, there might be a lot of factors that contribute to his charm but one trait that really stands out in him is his ability to maintain his composure (surprisingly in real as well as reel life).

In the case of the modern day woman too, people would tell you that a lady without a “stronghold” or a “firm stand” will not make it big in this challenging world where everything is considered a rat race – from being a popular girl in school to making grandchildren obey. What most fail to notice is the fact that many lose the “woman charm” and their dependability when they prove to be hot-headed. In times of emotional turmoil and crisis it used to be the woman who went on and tolerated it till the end with a perseverance that seemed to be almost divine (even though they did shed buckets of tears to vent out the sorrow). The trend seems to be changing now. Now, it’s not uncommon to see both men and women shriek and yell out their emotions without realizing the fact that it’s not helping and that they are merely adding fuel to the fire.

Before making up our mind to change our attitude and start trying to become calm and composed ALL the time, let’s try convincing ourselves about the pros first. I’d like to stress on it by citing an example. I knew an extremely gullible and popular girl in college who got to know that her rival was spreading obscene rumors about her. The rumors were quite convincing and people started looking at her from a different point of view. She lost the trust of most of her colleagues and even a few friends. Although extremely upset about the happenings, she did not react angrily to the situation and relied on the very few friends who knew that these rumors were a lie. True, a few months were bleak and she had to face many hurdles, but slowly people were convinced by her sincere nature and that the rumors weren’t true and her charm and pleasant nature won her new friends. Surprisingly, most even forgot about it and were willing to accept her. All this happened within a time frame of 2 years, but the result was awesome. It was almost miraculous, in a way that surprised me. On the contrary, if she had lost her temper it would have turned out to be an even bigger issue and the outcome would have been the very opposite. Even in such a situation in which she had every right to fly off the handle, she maintained her cool and was rewarded for it. In fact, people respected her even more!

Controlling your temper is certainly not an easy task, especially when you feel that you are justified to. However, if you master the art of anger management, you’ll see wonders work around you. One last advice - occasionally when you lose your temper, don’t be too harsh on yourself…it’s a good start if you first train yourself not to get angry with yourself!!!